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Hi I'm Bill

Biker. Hiker. Climber. Database Architect. Father of 5. Disciple of Christ and a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a pretty simple guy to figure out: anything at all to do with being in the mountains, I love it. It is there I feel closest to my Father in Heaven. The fresh air, health and skills gained while hiking, biking, climbing, or snowshoeing up and down mountains is just icing on the cake. I've had trouble with my knees since playing soccer in high school. Had to give up skiing, running and snowboarding as well. But low-impact, non-team sports are great therapy, so I indulge as often as possible. The rest of my life has been defined by scouting, computers, my wife and family, and my faith. God has been very generous with the course of my life, blessing me with a good family, educational opportunities, employment in a field I love, and chances to live and work on one side of the Rocky Mountains or the other. I can't help but be deeply grateful to Him, and try my best to give back at every turn.

Why I am a Mormon

Like many Mormons growing up in Utah, it was a way of life to accept and follow the faith of your parents, and go to church like everyone else in your neighborhood. I did so as well, but never accepted it all the way. I'd spent my young life pursuing academics, scientific inquiry, debate contests, critical thinking reasoning and other things of the mind. I was quite skeptical about everything. I needed hard proof. As I neared 19 years old, the standard age when young men in our church serve a mission, I had no intention of going...yet. I gave God several chances to answer my prayers about whether He was really there, whether this faith I'd been raised in was valid at all, whether it was the best path to Him if He did exist. The questions were good. My intentions were sincere. But the way I approached Him and gave God deadlines was not the best way to seek Him. I had to learn the hard way that we frequently find answers to our prayer after we wade through a trial of faith. God sent a good man into my life who used to be much like me. We'd both spent so much time nurturing our minds, that we had no idea how to emote, how to feel. He knew exactly what I needed and instructed me. So I prayed for 15 to 30 minutes every night, just begging God (if He was there) to soften my heart so I could feel, feel emotions, feel love, feel spiritual things. He heard me. God heard and answered little ol' me! 2 weeks later, while listening to a beautiful song on my headphones, at a completely inconvenient moment in front of a bunch of other men, I felt like I had been scooped up, wrapped in His arms, and hugged. The Holy Spirit testified to me at that moment that my Father in Heaven was real, was very aware of me and my needs, and loved me beyond my ability to express in words. The extent of the love I felt in that moment was overpowering, and I broke down in sloppy sobbing and tears. There's no way my own psyche generated that feeling, or the light and knowledge that had been communicated to my soul. The tenderness and depth of that love just has to be experienced to be believed. I now knew, for myself, that Father in Heaven was very, very real and personal and interested in me. What a change from the old me. I could now feel, and recognized the peace and "rightness" that Spirit of God communicates when answering prayers in the affirmative. So I prayed about the Book of Mormon and immediately felt the peace and assurance that it was true. I read the New Testament and felt the Spirit frequently as I read the words of the Savior. Feeling that light turn on in my soul with just about every verse was very exciting. I had to let others know of our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and his restored, full gospel. So I chose to serve a mission, and was sent among the Spanish-speaking neighborhoods of Dallas Texas. College, a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, marriage, a career in business computing and consulting, and a family of my own soon followed. Despite this wonderful experience, mission and other blessings, I had yet to truly internalize Christ, and what he and his mission and teachings were all about. It wasn't until 2003 that a number of fortuitous things happened all at once, preceded by a few months of personal commitment to be as obedient to God as I could. At this time I received another life-changing experience with the Holy Ghost, filling my being with undeniable understanding and knowledge of Christ's reality, mission and ability to love, perfect and forgive. I felt, for the first time in my life, totally clean. My heart no longer had any desire to do anything normal or worldly or wrong. I felt like a completely new person. I radiated the same love I felt filling me. His love for you, like the Father's love, is worth any price to feel. And that price is simple obedience to his teachings and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. All of this wonderful stuff happened to me because I'd been taught the gospel of Christ and I made the effort to seek God and find out independently if it was true. That's why I'm a Mormon. I choose to be, because I found Heavenly Father and Christ and personal salvation here.

How I live my faith

As I think about the unsettling stuff happening in the world, so much of it is because of broken homes and people who just want to be nourished, accepted and loved. So I focus first on my own little family, trying to let them know how wonderful they are, and how much I love them. Patience and warmth are not my strong points, so it takes effort, prayer, faith and more effort, especially when my children are all talking, begging, or bugging each other at once (usually around dinner time, just after work). We also follow the teachings of our church, and have family and personal prayer and scripture study each day. Doing so, especially reading the New Testament and Book of Mormon together, has given our children an amazing spiritual maturity at a young age, and has brought a tangible change into our home, where the children are more apt to listen, help each other, get along well, and obey their parents. Ours is a Christian home, and others not of our faith have commented on the warm feeling they get when they cross the threshold. My hope is that in some small way, keeping this one family whole and happy will help mend the world a little. When we lived in Colorado, San Francisco and Houston, I enjoyed looking for opportunities on the bus, train and among co-workers, to share my convictions about Christ, strong families, my Church and the Book of Mormon in particular. Serving in local soup kitchens and United Way service openings was a favorite pastime as well. Now that we live in Utah again, with such a high percentage of the population who belong to our church, I live my faith by serving any time my local congregation needs someone to help: moving someone in or out, shoveling snow, landscaping a needy yard, weeding at the church's local welfare garden, lead a scout troop, etc. Serving others, especially when it's inconvenient, is a guilty pleasure of mine, as it brings me so much joy.

What does Mormonism teach regarding baptism?

Bill
The New Testament and the Book of Mormon both speak of the baptism of Christ, how he chose to be baptized -- not because He needed it -- but to be an example of how to enter the path back to God. Other scriptures in the Bible, and in the additional books of scriptures and statements of living prophets that we believe in also state that faith in Christ, repentance and baptism are essential. So one of the primary things Mormon missionaries seek are those who have faith in Christ and wish to be baptized by those having authority from God to do baptisms. Unlike some churches that grapple with the notion of the unbaptized losing salvation, our unique view on this symbolic covenant and ceremony of salvation is very equitable. We teach that all of God's children, either in this mortal life, or the spiritual life following this one, will have an opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ in purity and power, have the Spirit testify to them of its truth, and have a chance to repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and promise to follow Christ. If a person was not baptized while alive, they will have a chance in the afterlife through baptisms by proxy that are performed in our temples by living people on behalf of those who have died. 1 Corinthians 15:29 makes reference to baptisms for the dead, something most traditional Christian churches shrug off, because the reference simply isn't understood. But with the restored gospel of Christ, as revealed by Joseph Smith and widened by Brigham Young and subsequent prophets, we understand what the verse it about. We have the notion of eternal families, missionary work in the afterlife, and performance of saving ordinances, even for those who have already passed on. This doctrine is beautiful in its simplicity and fairness. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Bill
When one starts to realize that Mormons seem like a homogeneous group, all subscribing to very similar beliefs, it can seem like we are all indoctrinated or brainwashed like members of a dangerous cult would be. But our belief system is anything but dangerous, in fact the exact opposite. And the vast majority of us have sought and obtained personal witness from God that this is the Church that has the most truth to offer. So we choose to believe in and follow its teachings of our own free will and personal cognizance. True, there are some Mormons who are only members because it's how they were raised and they've never considered anything else, or because their girlfriend is a member. But this is the exception, not the norm. The goal of our faith is becoming perfected in Christ, loving and serving like He would if He were in our shoes, and receiving the promise of eternal life and exaltation with our family in heaven. If others feel the need to define that as a cult, then so be it. At least it's a very good one. Show more Show less